The lists of families, usually father to son, are very carefully listed in the Bible. Now ignore for a moment the fact that these are painfully boring to read especially since most of these people have no later mention in the biblical texts, and consider what it means that these lists are preserved. Remember most scholars agree that the Hebrew Scriptures were not written down until after the Babylonian exile. The only parts of scripture that were recorded were the books of prophecy while everything else was known by rote.
That’s old school for “memorized.”
Can you imagine what it took to memorize those long lists? I mean the stories are pretty easy to remember on some level because there’s a story arc and a series of events to recall. But if you just look at Genesis 9-11 (OT bible reading for today on the Tapestry Church app) for example there area whole lot of “begats” in there. I’m a theatre person so I know what it takes to memorize something like that and it is time and effort. So I ask, “why?”
What’s the point? Why is this important?
Because sometimes we need to remember to be patient. Yes, it reminds of God’s order in a world of chaos, it represents the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people, it gives us a sense of identity and who we came from (though I’m gentile through and through so that one doesn’t really apply to me) but more than anything else it reminds us that things don’t always happen overnight. Timing is different for our LORD and like it reads in 2 Peter “one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day [to Him].”
What are we being patient for? In this instance the people are being patient for Abram so that God can re-establish his relationship with Humankind (or at least start the process). But we almost never see the end result whilst in the midst of waiting.
As far as I’m concerned the Genealogies remind us we need to be patient and wait sometimes, sometimes much longer than we would like, even if the only thing we’re waiting for is the end of the chapter so we can get on with the story.